DISCUSSIONS on how to lift lockdown restrictions in areas such as Newport, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly will begin later this week, first minister Mark Drakeford has said.

Speaking in the Senedd this afternoon (Tuesday), Mark Drakeford said he "cannot promise at all" the local lockdown rules would start to be lifted this week, but plans to do so would get under way on Thursday.

Four council areas in Gwent are currently subject to coronavirus restrictions. Caerphilly was the first part of Wales to enter a local lockdown, on September 8; and since then Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Torfaen have all followed suit.


"We'll be reviewing restrictions on Thursday of this week, and I will be discussing with my officials how we might begin, step-by-step, to lift those local restrictions," Mr Drakeford told Senedd members.

"I cannot promise at all that we will be able to begin on that journey this Thursday, but I want to make sure we are planning for the route out of those local restrictions – with local people, with local agencies – so we can communicate that clearly to people who live in those localities."

The first minister was responding to a question from Newport East MS John Griffiths, who asked for an update on the city's lockdown status and said residents should be kept informed of progress.

"It is important for people to know that complying with restrictions to drive down cases, will result in timely easing of those restrictions when it is safe to do so," Mr Griffiths said.

Mr Drakeford said there were early signs the situation is Newport was starting to stabilise "thanks to the efforts of local people".

Daily figures on the spread of Covid-19 "have continued to show a small but sustained fall in the number of cases" in the Newport area, the first minister added.

He said the chief constable of Gwent Police had complimented residents' desire to "act within the spirit of the rules."

"I'm hugely grateful, both to the citizens of Newport – but also to local authority officers and the police service – for everything they are doing to help people to do the right things," Mr Drakeford said.